The UK is home to many rare and exotic wildlife species and now animal lovers can enjoy their very own safari without leaving Britain.

Travel experts from have named the locations where Brits can see their favourite wild animals – up close and personal.

From basking sharks off the coast of Cornwall to killer whales in Shetland, UK waters are a haven for lovers of marine wildlife.

While red squirrels, golden eagles and wild horses also mean the interior of our islands also offer a host of opportunities for those who enjoy spotting rare creatures.

The British Isles are home to thousands of different animal species but some are harder to find than others.

Whilst the country is most known for its hedgehogs, badgers, and plethora of wild birds, travellers also have the opportunity to see seals, otters and even whales and sharks in British waters. 

Isle of Mull – Golden Eagle

For tourists wishing to get a glimpse of the impressive golden eagle, they should head to the west coast of Scotland where breeding pairs are afforded special protection status.

Cumbria – Red Squirrels

Despite being almost wiped out by the introduction of grey squirrels to the country in the 1800s, red squirrels still exist in various parts of the UK including Cumbria and Northumberland.

Cornwall – Basking Sharks

Even basking sharks can be seen off of the Cornish coast at some points in the year, as well as in the Scottish Hebrides – and they’ve even been spotted in Cardigan Bay, Wales.

Hampshire – Wild Horses 

All of the 5,000 ponies found in the New Forest roam freely and have been doing so for about 2,000 years, while wild horses also thrive on Exmoor.

Cardigan Bay – Dolphins

The stunning coastline of Cardigan Bay, Wales has the largest population of dolphins in Europe with Cornwall and the Moray Firth also good places to spot this rare intelligent creature.

Moray Firth – Humpback Whales

The Moray Firth is also one of the best places to witness the amazing acrobatic abilities of the humpback whale, while their hauntingly melodic songs can also be heard around the Hebrides and the Shetland Islands.

Shetland Islands – Killer Whales

Orcas have been recorded all around British Waters but they are most common in the west and north of Scotland, with the Shetland Islands being a killer whale hotspot.

Northumberland – Puffins

One of the easier puffinries to reach by boat is on the Farne Islands off Seahorses in Northumberland where these brightly coloured, charismatic seabirds can be found.

Norfolk – Seals

Spotting a seal colony is one of Britain’s great wildlife spectacles and both the common and grey seal species can be found within the Blakeney National Nature Reserve.

A spokesperson for said: “With more Brits than ever before taking multiple breaks around the UK rather than having one big holiday overseas, we are delighted to offer advice on the very best places to spot some of our rarer animals.

“Take a walk in the UK countryside or national parks and you’ll likely come across a number of different types of birds, small rodents, and perhaps a deer or two – but there are places you can go to see wild horses, red squirrels and even otters.

“We think that using these locations to plan your next road trip or holiday in the UK once lockdown restrictions are eased is a great idea – we are a nation of animal lovers after all.

“If you’re lucky enough and travel at the right time, you might even be able to spot dolphins, seals, basking sharks and even killer whales in UK waters!”

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There is also a list of other areas you can go to see the animals at the bottom of the post.